What Does It Mean If My Employer Is a Non-Subscriber to Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of coverage employers may purchase to protect their businesses in the event an employee is injured on the job. Without such coverage, a business may be forced to close its doors if it is found to be liable when an employee suffers serious injury or death on the job. Workers’ compensation insurance generally limits an employer’s liability in such situations. Additionally, workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage to employees who are injured while working.
After suffering an injury, employees may file a workers’ compensation claim and submit proof of their damages to recover costs associated with the injury, such as medical expenses. Employees may also claim some of the wages they have lost through a workers’ compensation claim, if they were unable to work while recovering. However, there are caps in place that limit how much in lost wages an injured worker may claim. In many cases, workers’ compensation benefits are available regardless of who was at fault for the injury.
Can My Employer Forgo Workers' Compensation Insurance?
Workers’ compensation insurance is not mandatory for many employers. Employers may choose whether they would like to opt in to their state’s workers’ compensation program.
If an employer does not purchase workers’ compensation coverage, it does not mean that the employer is able to avoid liability for workplace-related injuries. Instead, injured employees may bypass the workers’ compensation system and seek damages directly from the employer. Injured employees may file a negligence lawsuit against the employer. Again, the employer generally cannot use the employee’s own liability in the incident to reduce the amount of damages the employee receives. So long as the employer was negligent in some way, the employee is entitled to recover for injuries. Negligence may be proven by showing inadequate training or supervision, a lack of proper safety equipment, and other similar shortcomings.
What Damages Are Available?
Although it may seem unnerving that an employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, for injured employees, there are several benefits.
For example, rather than only recover a portion of lost wages in an injury claim, those who file a claim against an employer directly may be able to recover all of their lost wages. Of course, the amount of recovery depends on the strength of the employee’s claim, but the limit that applies in many workers’ compensation claims does not apply to negligence claims.
Additionally, if your injury has affected your ability to earn money in the future, you may be able to recover more damages than if you filed through the workers’ compensation system. Many workers’ compensation claims do not provide an employee with damages for diminished earning capacity, but a negligence suit takes these damages into account.
Pain and suffering is also generally not available in a workers’ compensation claim. Pain and suffering includes emotional distress and other types of harm you suffered as a result of your workplace injury. In a civil suit, these damages may be sought by an injured employee.
There are significant differences between these systems of recovery. If your employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance at the time of your injury, you should consult with an experienced injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options and ensure that your rights are protected.
Experienced Austin Workers' Compensation Attorneys
If you were injured in the workplace and your employer is a non-subscriber to workers' compensation, Zinda Law Group can help. Our Austin workers' compensation attorneys are experienced in all types of workplace injury claims, and we will aggressively fight to help you recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages to which you are entitled under the law. Call us today at 800-863-5312 for a free consultation with one of our skilled Austin workers' compensation lawyers. Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.